Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is…well, to be honest, I don’t know if it can be called bad. I have an inherent interest in the wizarding world, and the film rewarded my interest, allowing me to dive into magical 1927 Paris and the intrigues and magics and creatures of that domain. It was a very, very low bar for me to be entertained by this film, and the film hit it, because of course it did. I would actually even go so far to say that I enjoyed it better than the first one. The first one was slow-paced, with uninteresting action and almost no color; The Crimes of Grindelwald is stuffed to the gills, and the action is beautiful and colorful. In short, it has things that make it good. It clears the basic tests it needs to clear.
Sadly, the reason I’m mentioning all these good qualities first is because the film has a lot of problems. A lot of them. Most of it is more spoilery, which I’ll go into after the cut, but if you don’t want to be spoiled, you should know that this film is a lot more aware of the legacy this film has, to tie into the Harry Potter saga and explain how this era led to the next. There’s some really interesting ideas in this film, but, ultimately, they are buried under layers of confusion, presumably because Warner Brothers still has three more movies to fill with this drama. However, it feels less like stage-setting for interesting story than it does someone taking the story threads and knotting them into oblivion. Wherever the story is intended to go, this film does not do a great job of making clear, and you’re going to have a lot of questions that don’t feel like they should be questions at all.
Got that? Let’s discuss the spoilers. Spoilers past this point, guys.